MR&D Forum Meeting 2008 Home Page

Please join us for the third annual Mark Minasi Technical Forum Meeting. We will once again be meeting in beautiful Virginia Beach, VA to learn new technologies, share ideas, and meet the people that have become our online friends.

Hosted by Mark Minasi and organized by Eric B. Rux, this meeting will have in depth talks on Windows Server 2008, Exchange 2007, Windows Home Server (WHS), Windows Vista as well as other hot topics. You won't want to miss this!!

Technical Sessions (Schedule Subject to Change)


 Sunday, April 20, 2008

  • 1:00 pm: Anne Grubb  What it Takes to Succeed in IT in 2008
  • 2:15 pm: Break
  • 2:30 pm: Mark Minasi   The Secrets of Effective Technical Talks: How to Teach 'Em Without Tucking Them In
  • 3:45 pm: Break
  • 4:00 pm: Eric B. Rux   Fun with Windows Home Server; trust me, youll want onedont let the word Home fool you  
  • 5:00 pm: 'No Host' dinner at local restaurant  (share your war stories and learn from experts  and we're pretty sure everyone's an expert)

Monday, April 21, 2008

  • 9:00 am: Mark Minasi   Wait, Don't Turn off IPv6: A Guide for the Reluctant
  • 10:15 am: Break
  • 10:30 am: Greg Shields  Documentation & Change Control: Hating it to Loving it in 75 minutes
  • 11:45 am: Lunch
  • 1:00 pm: Todd Lammle  TBA
  • 2:15 pm: Break
  • 2:30 pm:  Jeremy Moskowitz  Group Policy 2.0: Its freekin sweet! (with Vista & Windows Server 2008)
  • 3:45 pm: Break
  • 4:00 pm: Nathan Winters    Exchange 2007 from the command line  what makes a good Exchange 2007 deployment
  • 5:00 pm: Hosted Dinner at Pungo Grill. Mmmmmm!  (we ate there last year, it was very good)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

  • 9:00 am:  Greg Shields  Tips & Tricks for Preventing an Active Directory Failure
  • 10:15 am: Break
  • 10:30 am: Don Jones  Dr. PowerShell: How I Learned to Stop Clicking and Love the Command-Line
  • 11:45 am: Lunch
  • 1:00 pm: Rhonda Layfield   The New Deployment Tolls are New all Over Again!
  • 2:15 pm: Break
  • 2:30 pm: Curt Spanburgh   Journey to Planet Sharepoint
  • 3:45 pm: Break
  • 4:00 pm: Nathan Winters  OCS 2007  An Introduction to the new VOIP world of Office Communication Server 2007
  • 5:00 pm: 'No Host' dinner at local restaurant  (one last chance to rub elbows with people in the know)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

  • 9:00 am: Don Jones  Windows PowerShell v.Next: Whats Coming
  • 10:15 am: Break
  • 10:30 am: James Summerlin   Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Integration Services
  • 11:45 am: Lunch
  • 1:00 pm: All Attendees  Roundtable discussion for as long as you want!
  • End of Forum Meeting. See you again next year!




Anne Grubb

Anne Grubb is Web site strategic editor for the Windows IT Pro publications (Windows IT Pro, SQL Server Magazine, and the Pro VIP content sites). She started her career writing software user manuals in the days of CP/M and MS-DOS. Fortunately, she was able to leave technical writing behind and has spent most of her professional life writing and editing magazine and online articles for IT professionals.

Don Jones

Don Jones is a nationally-recognized author, instructor, speaker, and consultant, with more than a decade of experience in the Information Technology industry, and with a strong focus on Microsoft-centric solutions. Don is the author of nearly two dozen published works on IT subjects, is a regular speaker at national conferences like Windows Connections, Microsoft TechEd, and TechMentor, is a past Contributing Editor and columnist for REDMOND Magazine, and is a regular columnist for Microsoft TechNet Magazine.

Dons field experience includes work in a diverse selection of industries, including telecommunications, retail, online retail, manufacturing, and more. Don has extensive management experience, enabling him to speak not only to technical audiences, but also director and C-level audiences.

Don is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional award in recognition of his advocacy of scripting and automation, specifically for Windows PowerShell. Don currently serves as the Director of Projects and Services for SAPIEN Technologies, where he manages the company's Publishing, Training, and Community divisions.

Rhonda Layfield

Rhonda Layfield has been in the IT community for 25 years. She began her IT carreer in the US Navy as a communications specialist holding a top secret clearance. She is now an independent consultant and trainer who develops and teaches her own curriculum on Various Microsoft and VMWare Technologies. Rhonda has a passion for learning products at the packet level and sharing that knowledge in her classes with some of the most prestigious organizations and corporations around the world. Some of which include Dow Jones, the US Airforce, the US Army, IBM, Bank of America, Wachovia, Bell Atlantic and EDS. She is currently an NT/2000/2003 MCSE and MCT. Along with teaching she enjoys presenting at national conferences (TechMentor and Windows Connections) and contributing articles to various technical magazines and is also a co-author of Mastering Windows Server 2003 Upgrade Edition for SP1 & R2. 

Mark Minasi  

Mark Minasi is a best-selling author, popular technology columnist, commentator, keynote speaker, and all-around alpha geek. What separates him from many of the other alpha geeks, however, is that he knows how to explain things to normal humans and often make them laugh while doing it.  That's reflected in his recent Reader's Choice award for "Favorite Technical Author" at CertCities.  More testimony to his popularity with tech world came at a recent SearchWin2000 webcast on tuning computers.  At that webcast, Mark drew three times as many attendees as any previous webcast, crashing Yahoo!'s servers.

He is probably best known for his books in the Mastering series (Mastering Windows Server 2003, Mastering Windows NT Server, Mastering Windows 2000 Server, Mastering XP Professional, etc) and his perennial hardware PC repair and fix-it book The Complete PC Upgrade and Maintenance Guide, now in its 13th edition.  His monthly columns in Windows and .NET Magazine are among the best-read in the periodical.  Mark has also authored 19 other technology books, spoken on technical topics in 20 countries, and written and performed in a dozen technical education videos. 


Jeremy Mosowitz


Jeremy Moskowitz, MCSE, MCSA, founder of Moskowitz, Inc. (, is an independent consultant and trainer for Group Policy and Active Directory. His two-day, hands-on intensive Group Policy training has been attended by many of the worlds leading companies. He runs, a community forum to answer tough Group Policy questions. He speaks at IT conferences and inside corporations all over the world. Since becoming one of the worlds first MCSEs on both Windows NT and Windows 2000, he has performed Active Directory, Group Policy, Windows infrastructure, and SMS planning and implementation for some of the nations largest organizations. Jeremy has two very popular books on Group Policy, some chapters which are available in eBook format (January 2008). Learn more about it at


Eric B. Rux  

Eric B. Rux is cofounder of His monthly column Coming Home to Windows Home Server can be read at Eric is a senior Windows administrator for a large bill-management company and teaches the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) program at a local tech college.

Greg Shields

Greg Shields, MCSE, CCEA, is an independent author, speaker, and consultant based in Denver, Colorado.  With more than 10 years of experience in information technology, Greg has developed extensive experience in systems administration, engineering, and architecture specializing in Microsoft, Citrix, and VMware technologies.  Greg is a Contributing Editor for both Redmond Magazine and Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine, authoring two regular columns along with dozens of feature articles, webcasts, and white papers.  He is also the Resident Editor for Realtime Publishers Windows Server Community at  Greg is a highly sought-after instructor and speaker, where among other endeavors he teaches system and network troubleshooting curriculum for TechMentor Events, a twice-annual IT conference, and produces computer-based training curriculum for CBT Nuggets on numerous topics.  Greg recently released his latest book, Windows Server 2008:  Whats New / Whats Changed:

Curt Spanburgh  

Curt Spanburgh is a consultant/system engineer for Solutions Consulting Group, a Microsoft Business Solutions Gold Partner in Southern California. He has worked with Microsoft applications for more than 15 years and monitors a Microsoft Business Solutions forum on the Mark Minasi Help Forum at

He has worked with Microsoft Dynamics CRM since Beta 1.0  and Dynamics Great Plains since 1998.  He has been published in Windows IT Pro Magazine. Solutions Consulting Group provides ERP and CRM solutions for the Southwest United States.

James Summerlin  

James Summerlin is 33 years old and has been working with computers since 1997. He has a bachelor's of science in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and currently consultants for small to medium sized offices - mostly in the medical field. James Summerlin works for Professional Data Management, Inc. located in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Nathan Winters 

Nathan Winters is a Unified Communications Consultant for Dimension Data; a Microsoft Gold Partner on five continents whose clients include over 70% of the Global Fortune 100. Nathan has been working in I.T. for four years and specializes in Exchange, Active Directory and Virtualisation. Recent work has included an Exchange 2007 design for a 2000 user network and a large multisite migration from GroupWise 6.5 to Exchange 2003.

Midway through 2006 Nathan founded the Microsoft Messaging and Mobility User Group UK which holds regular meetings in the UK to discuss topics related to Exchange. In April 2007 Nathan was awarded an MVP (Exchange Server) for his work with MMMUG and regular contributions to the Mark Minasi Forum. Nathan is a regular contributor to the website and Nathans other articles have been published by Penton Media (Exchange and Outlook Administrator newsletter), Microsoft (TechNet Industry Insiders) and on the MMMUG website.

You can contact Nathan at or through his blog at


Location, Travel and Registration

The meetings take place at the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel, an oceanfront Virginia Beach hotel. You are responsible for making your own reservations. 


2800 Shore Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Sales Office 1-800-468-2722

When registering, please say that you are with the "Minasi group," so that you will receive the best rate.  Room rates are $120/night.  (That doesn't count the usual heavy slathering of added Federal, state, county, city, street and other taxes, of course.)


Virginia Beach is in the southeastern corner of Virginia.  It is the 42nd most populous US city, outpacing such better-known cities as Oakland, Omaha, Miami, Raleigh, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and many others.  (This irritates those cities, but inasmuch as VAB contains the huge Oceania Naval Airbase, we are fully prepared to retaliate to any attempts to knock us off our beloved 42nd spot.)

You can drive to Virginia Beach via US 64 East to US 264 East.  The Hotel's web page has more driving details at

To fly to Virginia Beach, go to either the Norfolk International Airport (airport code ORF, Web site and from there it's about a 35 minute taxi ride that'll cost about $50, not including tip.  Or fly into Newport News / Williamsburg airport (, which is smaller and about 45 minutes' drive further.  (Sorry, we don't have a guess on the cost of ground transport from Newport News.)


We're charging $450/head to cover meeting room expenses, duplication expenses and the dinner at Mark's farm one evening. While the registration fee is a bit more than last year, the hotel is cheaper. When you add in the hotel and the registration fee, the total charge is only $50 more than last year.  Click here to register.  It's the "seminar registration" page because it was just easier and cheaper to put the registration on that page.  Just be sure to choose the "MR&D 2008 Forum Meeting."  (if you are unable to register online, please email Jean Snead below).  You can pay with checks, purchase orders and credit cards, but in any case we need payment before the event, and thanks for your help... and for joining us!  (And if you're coming from outside of the US or Canada, then just ignore the need for a zip code, apologies -- we're using the software that we use for our public seminars, which only take place in the US and Canada.  Just punch in anything for a zip.  The credit card system won't work either because of the zip code issue, but if you e-mail Jean Snead ( then she can handle a credit card manually.  Apologies for the trouble, again thanks for joining us!)